Philippines scientists seek declaration of ‘climate emergency’
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - February 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipino scientists are calling for the declaration of a “climate emergency” to highlight the urgency of the need for action to address the threats of the climate crisis.

A technical panel composed of leading Filipino scientists recommended the shift from using the term “climate change” to “climate emergency” in a call for immediate action against global warming.

“With the resulting increase in global average temperature and a chain reaction of environmental changes, we are left to contend with the consequences of human-induced climate change,” the National Panel of Technical Experts (NPTE) said in a resolution submitted to the Climate Change Commission (CCC).

“It is time to shift from using the term ‘climate change’ – a declaration of an observation, to ‘climate emergency’ – a call to action,” it added.

The panel, which includes scientists who have contributed reports to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said 41 economies including members of the European Union have signed a climate emergency declaration.

The NPTE is chaired by geologist Carlos Primo David, who is also the executive director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology.

Its members include scientists Leoncio Amadore, Leandro Buendia, Rex Victor Cruz, Felino Lansigan, Glenn Roy Paraso, Juan Pulhin and Rosa Perez.

“As one of the most climatically vulnerable countries in the world, the Philippines should mobilize its people, institutions and resources to enhance its ability to prepare and even prosper amidst the climate emergency,” the panel said in its resolution.

“What it initially required it to identify the cities and municipalities that are most at risk to the deepening climate emergency,” it added.

The NPTE also called on the CCC to consolidate data and generate a nationwide climate risk assessment to determine the threat of the climate crisis to the country.

It said the climate body is in the best position to gather and analyze data sets from national government agencies and produce baseline climate risk assessments at the city or municipality scale.

The resolution also recommended that the lead agency assemble a team of specialists, to work on the gathering, integration and initial analysis of data.

It urged the CCC to fast-track its efforts in gathering relevant data from government agencies to enable a team to begin the critical work of risk assessment.

Climate secretary Emmanuel de Guzman welcomed the NPTE resolution, saying a nationwide climate risk assessment will contribute to the national and local development and investment planning.

He said it will also enable more local government units to access the People’s Survival Fund, the country’s financing mechanism for local adaptation solutions to mitigate the impact of climate emergency.

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